Shop now Shop now Shop now See more Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Learn more Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn more Shop Men's Shop Women's

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 17 August 2012
Bounce got off to a great start. The author told his story of how he got into table tennis and highly it could easily have been seen as the result of great talent. However he pointed out that talent probably had only a little bit to do with. The truth was that a series of lucky coincidences combined with many many hours of practice I led him to become the champion player that he was. I really enjoyed the parts of the book where he was expanding his thesis about the importance of practice and opportunity and dismissing the importance of talent. I felt there was a message here for everybody.

Unfortunately I felt the book tailed off. For me there was a very little that was new in the second half of the book. It seemed as if the author had a great idea, but that there wasn't quite not there to fill a book. Part two covered paradoxes of the mind, dealing with sports psychological topics such as joking, rituals and the anticlimax of winning. I certainly had read most of this before in a number of sources. The final section had one interesting chapter on the way that the mind processed division in sport. I love the story of the highly trained table tennis player with lightning reflexes trying to apply his reflexes to game of lawn tennis.

The final two chapters are opinion pieces on current sporting debates. One discusses the use of drugs in sport and whether it might be better to just encourage or alive all athletes to use drugs. The final chapter looks at the success of black athletes and the dwells particularly on the success of Kenyan athletes. I find this chapter tantalising but disappointing. I was annoyed that much of it was spent attacking a straw man argument that racial abilities or group abilities should be identifiable mappings of genes. I thought that the notion that human traits could be traced to the action in order to genes had been abandoned as hopelessly optimistic many years ago. Interesting parts of this chapter with the references to lifestyle and altitude in this successful Kenyan subset. The discussion of African-American and Jamaican runners seems determined to find any explanation that wasn't genetic.The author forces a correlation between identifying physical prowess with demeaning the group.

This book is worth reading for the first section. The second section will certainly be interesting if you have not read much about sports psychology. The last section contains interesting arguments and if you like to argue with the book you will probably love it.
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 6 June 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a readable book about sports stars and what enables them to excel. The essential question it poses, as the subtitle indicates, is "How are champions made?"

The answer, as far as Syed is concerned, is threefold: talent, opportunity, and masses of practice. He skews the answer towards the second and third of these, rather underrating native ability in the process.

Syed cites his own experience of growing up in a community where he had access to a 24-hour table tennis facility; the result was a large number of local young players who were able to practise a huge amount, and this was like a hothouse for Syed's talent. Had he grown up elsewhere he wouldn't have had this opportunity.

This is reminiscent of the 10,000-hour rule Malcolm Gladwell presents in his book Outliers: Gladwell's thesis is that people like Bill Gates and Mozart got brilliantly good at what they did mainly by virtue of having amazing opportunities to practise in an environment to which others did not have access - and at an early age. Syed looks at other sporting talents such as Tiger Woods, citing the importance of practice in their development. He also draws on ideas from neuroscience and, perhaps more surprisingly, economics, and there's some fairly extensive reference to the findings of psychologist - both those who've focused on sport and researchers in other areas.

Syed covers this in a reasonably engaging if sometimes rather breathless style. Yet it's hard to get away from the feeling that a lot of what he says is rather obvious. The book can be seen as a sort of motivational exercise, encouraging us to believe in the power of hard work. It's a decent attempt to apply Gladwell-style thinking to sports, but it doesn't provide a recipe for excellence, and anyone who has played sport at a high level or indeed watched a lot of top-level sport will find Syed's findings either banal or rather doubtful.
11 comment| 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 20 April 2016
anyone who knows hard work is what makes for success will appreciate this book. It's well written. He says that luck plays a part too - being in an environment conducive to right teachers/coach. Talent is about 1 %. Liking something is more important than talent. Too quickly we assume someone is talented without appreciating the sheer hard graft that's gone in before. He explains the science of it very well - like Kasparov v Deep Blue. Mozart's dad was a seriously pushy parent and majorly successful violin teacher, composer etc so the young lad did not have a lot of choice but to become amazing. You will read the book fast because it's written that way, but it's fun and inspiring.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 14 March 2016
This is the fourth time I've bought this book. Each time it gets given away to a friend as a must-read. The message in the story is so powerful and empowering, everything is within our grasp if we just put in the time and don't give up because "we don't have the talent".
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Reading the other reviews here I'm wondering if I was sent the same book!

The first few chapters run through the usual stuff about not recognising failure and viewing it as learning instead, the rewards of refusing to take orders from/be lead by people who appear knowledgeable but aren't, and the need for praise not critiscm. Then we move into weird territory about optical illusions, drugs and casual racism.

The two halves of the book have different tone and direction. It feels like the author had two separate books in mind, couldn't finish either so shoved them together.

In the blurb on the back cover Gabby Logan says she wished she'd read the book at 15. I agree with her. At 15 this stuff is all new, a couple of years later it's just rehashed old tat and opinion given as fact.

(NB Amazon Vine reviews that say anything negative about a product are generally deemed `unhelpful'. This is an honest review and I really don't care about 'unhelpful' votes.)
44 comments| 56 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 January 2012
Syed's book contains little new stuff: most of this has been around in performance circles for a long time (see Millman's The Warrior Athlete from the 1980s). Where I have issues with the book is not its basic premise (that in sport a lot practice helps, that chance plays a huge part in context, that eliminating doubt is crucial), but in how he applies this stuff, and what it means to reach the highest level in any aspect of life. There cannot be too many people who still believe in overnight success, but if there are this is probably sobering reading for them. And dump the Bannantyne recommendation on the cover. Nearly put me off completely.
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 November 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When I first read Matthew Syed's book earlier this year I was truly enthused. I was sharing portions of it with my family and friends and - as a parent of a toddler - couldn't overstate how important Syed's message could be if you choose to agree with his conclusions. I wanted to take the time to review it as well as I could in the hope of encouraging (almost evangelising) others to read it too. But somehow I never found the time to do it justice.

So, having just finished the book for the second time and with a few months perspective... how do I feel about it? Well, the concepts Syed describes had been given time to sink in and came as no surprise the second time around... but the importance of the message seems just as great and I am delighted to be just as impressed on the second reading.

The book is in three parts with three separate points to make about what Syed sees as being crucial in the making of a champion - or more generally in the pursuit of excellence. For me, the first is the most revelatory and generally applicable in our culture and education in the broadest sense. This section, challenging what Syed calls 'the talent myth' is essential reading in my opinion. I can see plenty of personal examples of where the pervasive power of the talent myth has had an influence in my own development and how I had come to similar conclusions to Syed in hindsight years later. If you are a parent, a professional educator, a coach, a manager, a recruiter or more or less anyone who has a vested interest in nurturing success in others I implore you to read at least this portion of the book.

The second section deals with the psychology of self-belief, `choking' and the changed neurology of experts compared to novices. As an amateur rower, I have been made aware of Syed's somewhat scathing attitude towards certain sports (and I know plenty of rowers who would find that amusing coming from a ping-pong player ;) ! ) but his analysis of his own experience of choking at the Olympics was fascinating and intelligible to anyone who has had to perform at their best in a high-pressure scenario. While I found this section very interesting it was far more in line with what is generally adopted in our culture so packed less of a punch.

The final section is slightly less coherent and was to some extent a compilation of articles that you could have read under separate publication (certainly Syed's analysis of the clustering of distance and sprint runners, and his attempt to separate this from the notion of race, is available online). Nevertheless, there are some fascinating ideas contained within and in the context of the whole book they certainly add rather than dilute.

I am not yet persuaded that I agree with all of what Syed is saying. For one thing, his theory of the power of circumstances is hard to settle with accounts of the similarity of the lives of twins separated at birth or the ability of certain scientists to predict with some accuracy the relative speed of athletes on the basis of measuring the ratio of the length of their fingers! These findings seem to put a lot of mass on the side of genetics & hereditary predispositions. Even Syed's arguments about the role of purposeful practice don't seem to ask the question why one person is prepared to commit 10 000 hours of dedication to a sole skill where others would be deterred. Is that purely down to their environment or are some people predisposed to being focussed and persistent where others lose interest?

There were also some aspects of his style that can grate. If I had a £ for every time he used the word 'deep' in the text ...! There is a tendency for hyperbole. But it's still highly readable, accessible and enjoyable and I hope it gets the wide readership it so deserves.
22 comments| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
`Bounce' is a book that explores sports psychology and the attributes that sports stars have that make them reach the top of their fields. This explores subjects such as early success and time spent perfecting skills, life changing mind sets, placebo effects, religion and sports, superstition and modern developments in genetics. This reminded me of books by Malcolm Gladwell (whom the author references at times) and like Gladwell the author makes a pertinent point and backs it up with an appropriate example but he then over eggs the pudding by spending the remainder of the chapter reiterating the same point in different ways. Gladwell does this as well and it quickly becomes frustrating. For this reason this makes for an interesting but simplistic read. There are various visual examples and charts to explain points raised which adds to the text overall. The book was spoilt for me by the rambling and confused last chapter on race bias in sport. This left the book with no clear conclusions and what it really needed was a few pages to tie up all the points raised in the book neatly. Instead it felt like a collection of laboured articles that over embellished some simple, initially engaging ideas. Having said all that, if you enjoy Gladwells books or easily accessible popular science books then this is still worth considering.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
0Comment| 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 21 October 2011
At the heart of Syed's brilliant book is the concept that 'purposeful practice' tops talent (whatever that might be) any day of the week. The author draws on examples from various sports such as golf, basketball, table tennis and (if you call it a sport) chess. Combining those learnings with other very interesting academic, medical and psychogical studies, he puts a really persuasive case that purposeful practice (as opposed to low-level repetition) and good old fashioned hard graft are the key to success.

Two thoughts: 1) Syed stood as a Labour Party candidate in the general election of 2001 in an unwinnable seat. If he'd won in a safe seat, just think what he could have become as a Sports Minister who actually understands sport, has played it to an international level and is a radical thinker. 2) How on earth did Brian Moore's interesting-in-parts but slightly dull biography beat this for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year 2010? I demand a recount!
11 comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 2 December 2015
Cracking book. I think this is a must read for those serious about doing anything that requires hours of practice to achieve greatness! Obviously, kids think they can be an expert in something after a few hours and get upset if they don't. Once you've read this you can explain it will take around 10 years (10,000hrs) of purposeful practice for them to be a professional! Syed basically suggests anyone can be a pro if you put the hours in...if in doubt buy it.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)